The odds that a child is healthy, happy and doing well in school all improve as social class rises.
This social pattern tracks strongly into adulthood and defines health inequalities throughout life.
“In Canada, there are major differences in the rates of some illnesses and a 10-year gap in life expectancy across socioeconomic conditions,” said Dr. Frank Elgar, a professor of psychiatry at McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy. “Internationally, child and youth health vary depending on economic wealth and inequality.
Social and moral implications
An upcoming public lecture by Dr. Elgar, an alumnus of Memorial University, will take a look at those differences.
Using research on poverty, inequality, bullying and corporal punishment, Dr. Elgar will examine the social and moral implications of health inequality in early life, the policy choices that shape opportunities to be healthy and potential consequences of inaction.
Dr. Elgar grew up in Woody Point, N.L., and received BA and M.Sc. degrees in psychology from Memorial University and a PhD in psychology from Dalhousie University. He has worked in university and government settings in Canada and the U.K., including the Cardiff Institute for Society, Health and Ethics, Welsh Assembly Government, University of Manitoba and Carleton University.
Currently he holds a Canada Research Chair in Social Inequalities in Child Health and his research examines threats to adolescent health and well-being, focusing on poverty, violence, inequality and food security.
His lecture, titled Health Inequality in Children and Youth and the Wealth of Nations, takes place Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation, room IIC-2001.
A reception will follow; limited free parking is available in lot 17.
The Dr. Patricia Canning Memorial Lecture in Child Health and Development was established through generous gifts from the family and friends of the late Dr. Patricia Canning, a child psychologist, educator and researcher at Memorial University.
The purpose of the lecture series is to attract a leader in the broadly defined area of child health and development research or discovery, with a goal of providing wide-reaching benefit to both the public and the Memorial University community. Speakers must have an international reputation and have produced extensive research on issues relevant to researchers, policy-makers and practitioners.